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The Forest Service reports their Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) specialists have done data gathering and field work on the August Complex fire burn area.  They report focusing on verifying, then finalizing how severe the burn was and putting that onto a map. Soil burn severity is classified into levels between unburned and high. They say because the fire is so large, and due to current activity, they couldn’t get to the northern section of the fire, only the southern zone, about 521,000 acres. They will head back to the northern portion when fire activity slows. They look for possible soil erosion areas, accelerated surface water run-off, and debris flows which could impact human life and safety, property, and critical natural and cultural resources from rain events. 

The latest from the state is Sonoma County is not meeting new requirements to slow the spread of coronavirus in minority or disadvantaged communities. The Press Democrat reports the county’s one of four in the Bay Are not meeting new health equity requirements. The county’s being watched by Mendocino County for their own metrics. And the public health officer in Sonoma County, Dr. Sundari Mase says the county’s health equity metric will actually help them move in the right direction. Reports across the country about the LatinX community being hit hard, and here in Mendocino County too. This new health equity metric started Tuesday, is part of the state’s four-tier, color-coded reopening plan

A man from Clearlake is going to prison for setting a fire last fall. Matthew Miravalle was convicted of felony arson got six years in state prison for the Sept. 2019 fire in Clearlake Oaks. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office and Cal Fire reported to the fire on Highway 20 at a bus stop while Lake County was under red flag conditions. The fire burned a small area of vegetations and part of a wooden fence. Two witnesses also saw the fire and there was video that proved Miravalle was at the scene when the fire started. He was arrested after he was found to be lying about being in Ukiah that day. He had also previously been caught lighting a fire in a laundromat.

The Glass Fire holding steady only growing 400 acres. It’s burned 67,420 acres and is now 62 percent contained, up 8% from a day before. The fire has burned over 1,500 structures, including 914 in Napa and 622 in Sonoma county. 280 others were damaged and another 13,000 remain threatened. There are still evacuation warnings for two areas of Lake County, south of Middletown, and Highway 29 south of Middletown to Tubbs Lane is closed to traffic. The fire is expected to be fully contained in the next couple of weeks.

The state’s first gigafire, the August Complex, which has burned well over one million acres continues its growth. The fire headed north, continues blackening Forest land in the Mendocino National Forest, Shasta-Trinity and Six Rivers National Forests. The fire grew again to reach over 1,014,000 acres with 60 percent containment. The firefighting team has added some Marines from Camp Pendleton to the fight. The fire is expected to be contained just before Thanksgiving.

The City of Fort Bragg is taking applications for anyone interested in being on the Noyo Harbor Commission. There are two openings for four year appointments that start Oct. 31st and go until Oct. 31, 2024. One is a city-appointed position, the other for a joint city/county-appointed position who will be the Chair of the Noyo Harbor Commission. The city council generally appoints two of the five members, Mendocino County picks two more and the county and city council jointly appoint the Chair. You have to live in the boundaries of the Noyo Harbor District. Contact the City Clerk with interest. The application deadline is Friday, Oct. 16th by 5 p.m.

A man whose former girlfriend has been missing and he was in jail in the past has been arrested at the courthouse. The Mendocino County DA reports Negie Fallis, generally of Covelo, was arrested by Sheriff deputies and taken to jail. He was then taken by federal agents to the Bay Area in connection to federal charges. The DA says it may be that all or the local charges against Fallis will be dismissed so his federal case can move forward. He’s been accused by family members of Khadijah Britton of being involved in her disappearance. They say he was the last to have been with her in February if 2018. He was arrested on firearms charges soon after.

Measure K on the ballot in Willits to bring cash to the cash strapped town. The Mayor Gerry Gonzalez says if it doesn’t pass the city will have to close essential operations including local police services; road, street, park and sports field maintenance; community facilities and fields; and more including code enforcement, planning and building. The mayor says the pandemic has bitten a large chunk out of the budget and expenses were already going up before the virus hit. Measure K is an emergency funding ordinance for a ¾ cent sales tax to pump $1,000,000 into the city every year for 10 years.

North Coast Opportunities has announced support for the community in the time of Covid-19 and devastating wildfires. You can go to their website and apply for support for Lake County Disaster Assistance at the top of their page. They say they have limited funds which will be distributed on a first come, first served basis. If you had a loss due to the wildfires from all the way back to 2015 when the Valley fire hit, you may be eligible for up to $2,500 in financial support. If you didn’t get money from the federal CARES Act, or stimulus related to the pandemic, you may also get a grant from North Coast.

For more information about any of the resources mentioned in this article, visit www.ncoinc.org or call an NCO Disaster Case Manager at 707-277-1058.

CalFresh has disaster relief for people in six counties. The state Department of Social Services has announced anyone in a family of four who gets less than $2,893 a month, and taking disaster-related expenses into consideration, could get as much as $646 in food benefits. It’s for those working or residing in eligible counties on at least August 14th-September 12th and had losses due to the wildfires.

For answers to any questions, call your local county social services office at (707) 995-4200.

PM UPDATE

The August Complex has added acreage, now at nearly 1,017,550 acres, it’s 62% contained. The Sheriff in Mendocino County has reduced Evacuation Orders to Warnings in Zone I: West of Elk Creek, south of Deep Hole Creek, north of the National Forest Boundary. Zone J: East of Elk Creek, north and West of the National Forest Boundary, south of Thatcher Creek.

The Lake County Sheriff reduced the Evacuation Orders to Warnings in the Lake Pillsbury Basin for all areas north of the fires edge, south and west of the Lake / Glenn County line, and east of the Lake / Mendocino County line. There is however warnings still in effect for areas south of fire’s edge, north of North Ridge and West Crockett Camp, east of the Lake / Mendocino County line and west of the Lake / Glenn County line.

Firefighters report steady progress on the Glass Fire with no forward movement overnight and 66% containment. The fire has torched 67,420 acres. Several homes have been destroyed and many others are still threatened by flames. But fire officials say they believe they have a foot hold on the fire after almost two weeks. The area most active they say, is on the northern front in Napa County, along Highway 29 near Mount St. Helena in rural, steep, terrain.

The Lake County Public Health Officer has put out a new health order to remind it’s mandatory to wear a mask. Dr. Gary Pace’s order this afternoon says California continues in a State of Emergency because of the COVID-19 pandemic and all residents must continue to wear masks when entering a business. The order again clarifies they’re following state guidelines which make facial coverings a mandate for anybody over the age of 2.  

Unemployment claims are finally getting caught up in Calif. There had been a backlog of claims and people were told they couldn’t file new claims for two weeks due to hundreds of thousands of claims that still had to be processed. The state reports clearing about a quarter million of more than 1.6 million backlogged claims after improving its technology. Now they say it will take until January to get thru them all.

The California Attorney General has announced a massive campaign to eradicate illegal marijuana. The Campaign Against Marijuana Planting pulled over 1.1 million marijuana plants across 455 grow sites, the country’s most ever. It included 29 Calif. counties, 140 arrests and finding 174 weapons. Counties included Mendocino, Lake, Colusa, Humboldt, Los Angeles, Napa, Trinity and Tulare and more.

There will be a drop off mailbox in Point Arena for the election. The Mendocino County Elections Office sent all mail ballots out Monday. That should take about five to seven business days. You can still vote in person if you want, but look out for the latest drop off point at the Point Arena Veteran’s Hall.

A COVID testing site in Point Arena due to a recent outbreak has brought back no positive results. The Public Health Office reports they will have another surveillance testing this Sunday October 11th from 9:30am to Noon at the Veteran’s Building City Hall in Point Arena.  

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